The Time of the Wolf Movie Review

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What is it about French filmmakers and the word "wolf?" This is the second French film in three years to ostensibly cover the lupine species... even though it doesn't really.

Director Michael Haneke (The Piano Teacher) offers a tantalizing setup this go-round, yet he ultimately does nothing with it. Here's the gist: A family arrives at their vacation house under suspicious (and weirdly hazy) circumstances, only to find squatters living inside. Soon Haneke reveals that some (unexplained) apocalyptic event has transpired, scattering people across the countryside. What happens when people try to survive a nuclear winter (or thereabouts)? Does soceity break down or does it rebuild?

Haneke wants to answer these questions, but his tack to getting there is completely wrong. While whetting our appetite with a rich setup, his attempt to generate strife among the characters is sadly misguided. Petty thefts and squatters rights comprise the bulk of Wolf's dialogues. Star Isabelle Huppert spends a good ten minutes walking around in search of her son, who's simply wandered away. Does nuclear aftermath have to be this boring? I found the amateurish The Last Man to be deeper than this flick, despite all the Euro-postering and quasi-philosophical rants.

Still, The Time of the Wolf is artfully made and occasionally foreboding, to the point where it does keep your interest for short stretches at a time. Alas, no wolves ever show up.

Aka Le Temps du loup.

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The Time of the Wolf Rating

" OK "

Rating: R, 2003


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